Interview: Ed Patrick Talks ‘Leaf’ EP and How He Learned from Great American Musicians

Indie folk-pop singer-songwriter Ed Patrick hails from London but, at 16, he dropped out of school, got a job at a guitar shop, saved up his money, and then came to the United States to learn from some of the greatest unsung musicians of the ’70s and ’80s, people who worked with legends of the business. This adventure led him to being the singer-songwriter he is today, with acoustic guitar-based music that plays with pop elements like electronic beats.

Today, Patrick releases his latest EP, Leaf. Most of the songs have been released thus far as singles, but now the release of the latest track completes the release of the four-song EP of delicate folk-pop tracks that go through a powerful emotional journey. New Noise sat down with the rising artist to talk a little bit about his new EP.

So in your bio, it talks about you having learned from some of the great musicians of the ’70s and ’80s, but it didn’t mention any names.

That’s because I feel like most people wouldn’t recognize the names, just the music they played on, if that makes sense.

Is there any big music that we might recognize?

Yeah. The main person was a guy called Steve Kahn, and he played on Miles Davis a lot, Steely Dan, James Brown, all that New York-based 1970s-80s stuff, and then some other people. Someone called Hiram Bullock, who was the most charismatic, full-of-confidence person I’ve ever met. He played for everyone from Sting to—He was the David Letterman guitar player, the original one. Phoebe Snow (who worked with) Steely Dan, again. I was a big Steely Dan fan at the time. More players on the recording as opposed to the artists themselves.

Did you at least get any fun stories out of those?

Yeah, I mean, I was, like, 18 at the time. I don’t think I learned that much about guitar, which was what I was trying to learn. But just being around those kinds of people was just a constant feeling of, I don’t know, they’re just picked from a different time. New York ’70’s lifestyle was just all sorts of stories of drugs and sex and alcohol and music. But specifically, I’m not sure I can think of a specific story. I just look back on it now as paradise, an amazing time. But at the time, I remember it was super, super lonely being in the U.S. away from my family for nearly a year.

Why do you think it was important to do that in the U.S., then?

I think I always loved American music. As a kid, I always saw America as the as the height of music. And that’s where I wanted to be, especially at that time. That was where all my favorite music came from, Tom Petty and James Taylor and all that more West Coast music. But yeah, I just wanted to be there so much all the time. Where are you? You’re in Los Angeles? No, you’re in Denver.

I’m in Denver, actually. That’s funny, because I always think of England as the height of music. I mean, I’m a Clash fan first and foremost, and also a Doctor Who fan, so I always romanticize British culture.

I think it’s that grass-is-greener thing. I have it is so bad. Like, if it’s far from me, then I’m gonna want it more than what’s next door, always, always, always.

Your songs all have fascinating backstories, but I really was intrigued by the one for the title track. Can you tell us a little bit about that?

Yeah, sure. That’s probably the only one that’s—especially the first versus—directly true. It’s just about someone I met in Barcelona. The first vers is verbatim true, just someone I met and then I was only there two days. I met her the night before. And then she was like, if you’re free the next day, I can show you my town, which is a town up in the mountains of Barcelona. And yeah, I guess this story is, as the lyric describe. It’s kind of verbatim.

And what do you actually play on this EP? Do you do all the instruments yourself?

I think that track is the only one where there’s a little bit of percussion that’s done by other people, but otherwise, I do it all at home in my bedroom.

I noticed it’s guitar-centric, but then there’s also some electronic elements at some points. Is the guitar the best part to do?

I come from a guitar background so, usually, everything starts with the guitar. But, all the other stuff, I normally just throw a lot of paint on the wall. So I just put thousands of different things and then take stuff out and see what works. But guitar is the only instrument I play with other people. All the other instruments—piano and percussion and stuff—I can only play for myself. I wouldn’t have the guts to do it alongside someone else.

Why did the word “leaf” stick out to you as the title of a song and the title of this EP?

I think just that that that chorus line “Shaking like a leaf on a tree that’s me,” it came out of nowhere, really. And I just went with it. And that was always the track that felt the most real, so I just went with that one.

I believe all the songs have already come out except for the new one, which is “Nothing for Me Now.” So, what’s that song about?

That one is coming out of a down period when you’re not feeling so good and then meeting someone who makes you start feeling better again, feeling a little bit more full of life again. Everything before it means nothing to me now. It’s starting again.

What’s next for you after you release the EP? Do you have any shows lined up?

Basically this this whole year, I’ve been in Latin America, in South America, and Central America. At the moment, I’m in Venezuela. And we have one last show on the 1st of December here in Caracas. And after that, I just carry on traveling south, and that’s my plan at the moment. And hopefully when I get home, I can write some songs about it. But I’ve been here since February, so it’s been, like, a year. I’ve always wanted to come here; it’s always been my second dream after North America is to see South America. Just took a long time to get here.

The EP is streaming on all platforms today. Tickets to Patrick’s show tonight in Caracas are still on sale here. Follow Ed Patrick on Instagram for future updates.

Photo courtesy of Ed Patrick

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